In the land of the midnight sun, the church in Stockholm, Sweden stands as a reminder of the once bright Reformation that occurred in the land during Martin Luther’s time, but has now settled into a smoldering ember that is marked more by traditional indifference than a burning love of the Gospel. The Church of Sweden is the official church of Sweden, but it is more of a cultural signifier than a herald of the Good News.
Tough Soil to Till
The honest truth about planting a church in Stockholm is that there is nothing easy about it. It is a hard climate to live in with many dark and gloomy days because of its location so far north. The city is an expensive locale to both live in and rent a place of worship. And the people are cynical and skeptical of outsiders who do not belong to one of the established, and thus credible, faith organizations in the country.
All of that information is not given in order to diminish interest or dissuade potential church planters and partners, but to encourage us all to “count the cost” before stepping into a situation that will be both very demanding and challenging along the way. The team in the IBC who conducted the feasibility study for Stockholm has recommended that any potential church planting team considering Stockholm should be strong in their faith, committed to the ups and downs of ministry in Sweden, and able to take the lumps that will most likely occur as one takes the Gospel into this community.
A Rewarding Task
Now that we have counted the cost and understand the realities of church planting in Sweden, let’s talk about the possibilities and rewards of such a place. First, an English-speaking church in Stockholm is desperately needed. Most of the churches that have any English-speaking service are done so bilingually or as a separate service. That means there is an amazing opportunity to fill a need as an English-speaking church plant in Stockholm. With the vast majority of the population under 40 years of age speaking English, it is a natural fit and one that is sure to produce great fruit.
Second, there is a lot of room for new missional and evangelistic strategies to be tried in Stockholm. Most of the Christian organizations in Sweden use more traditional methodology so a church planting team who is willing to invest more in relational, missional strategies are likely to see progress in a culture that values relationships and outsiders wanting to ingratiate themselves into the culture. The ability to think outside the box and being willing to try new things is a key to any successful church plant in Stockholm.
Your Part in all of This
So, what are we asking from you as you read this post? A few things:
1. Pray for Stockholm. It is a city built on old traditions and filled with cultural Christians. What it needs is a fire to sweep through the city that will ignite the hearts of believers and see non-believers come to know God as their true King.
2. Pray for a church planting team. Stockholm is a hard city to plant a church in, and we need a very strong team that is called and equipped by God to take up the mantle in Stockholm and is willing to plant their flag in this city to see the Gospel take root in a very powerful way.
3. Consider being a part of our church planting team in Stockholm. This could mean that you are feeling the call of God to move your family to Stockholm in order to plant a church. This could mean that you don’t feel called to be a senior pastor of a church plant but that you want to be on a team that moves to Stockholm to help make this a reality. Or, it could mean that you feel called to financially support the team that is planting in Stockholm.
The need is there, and the land of the midnight sun has for too long been steeped in a darkness that can only be healed by the Son of God. We pray that a new chapter is coming soon to Stockholm. One where the old fire of the Reformation will give way to a new blaze as the Holy Spirit makes the name of Jesus prominent once again in this beautiful land of the North.
If you’re interested in being involved in ministry to Stockolm click here.